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The Restoration of a Woman of Paris Score


By Timothy Brock, June 2005

The dilemma of the 1977 version of the score to “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 is a complex one, and for me, a source of mixed feelings. On behalf of the Chaplin estate, and of behalf of the composer himself, the primary objective has always been to restore the Chaplin scores as close (as I can come) to how Chaplin [would have] heard them himself. In the case of “Modern Times”:/en/articles/6 it was a painstaking 14 months of solid meticulous work, and “City Lights”:/en/articles/4 and “The Circus”:/en/articles/1 being much the same. However for “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 my 8th score restoration for the Chaplins, the goal was the same, but more than few educated guesses and well-thought-out liberties had to be taken. This was a very different kind of restoration.

When preparations for the re-release of “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 were being made in 1976, Chaplin’s health was in full decline. He had had a stroke and it was only with great effort he had managed to complete the work required of him. Like the other re-issues up to this time, “The Circus”:/en/articles/1 “The Kid”:/en/articles/3 Sunnyside, Pay Day, The Idle Class, and A Day’s Pleasure, Chaplin had composed music (with the [help] assistance of Eric James) for them all. 226 minutes of fully orchestrated scores in 6 years time, from the composer’s age of 81 to 87. But for “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 the last film to be re-released, Chaplin’s health had deteriorated rather significantly, and due to the efforts of James and others, a “Chaplin” score had been created by means of using some previously un-used compositions and by James emulation of the Chaplin style, [with whom he had had been working [] for some 18 years]. OR which he knew well after some 18 years of working with him. ?

The 1977 score suffers primarily from one simple fact: the lack of material. One can only speculate that James, not wanting to “ghost write” a score in the name of Chaplin, used what little he had been given by Chaplin at age 87, and therefore tried to stretch the material over the course of 82 minutes. [And] Moreover the available un-heard compositions that James brought out were originally written for comedies, and were most likely difficult to convert to dramatic situations. Equally the orchestration by Eric Rogers, perhaps not as familiar with the Chaplin technique [as one would hope]?as Eric James? , did not follow the stylistic guidelines established by previously published trademark-Chaplin scores.

All of these understandable reasons, among others, were contributing factors to a not-all-together successful score. And although dozens of festivals over the last 30 years had expressed desire to exhibit “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 many were reluctant. However, as it holds true for all Chaplin films, one must abide by the credo that testifies to the complete art that is a Chaplin film. It must be his music and nobody else.

Enter 2003.[ The family had discovered] The Association Chaplin transferred to CD for preservation a series of over 19 hours of miraculous home and studio recordings. Dating back as early as 1951, these recordings are of Chaplin composing music on the piano, which he subsequently gave to his musical associates later to transcribe onto paper. A large portion of these recordings are devoted to music he was composing for “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 (however one can hear the budding musical themes of not only “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 but also later recordings he made composing “The Kid”:/en/articles/3 The Pilgrim and “The Circus”:/en/articles/1 .

The music Chaplin composed here, in the year 1951, is really the young composer at work, and these amazing recordings reflect that creative energy and vitality in his music that somehow always come through in his films. Yet Chaplin had composed so much music for “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 that, due to one reason or another, much of it had been left out of the final cut. And along with “Modern Times”:/en/articles/6 “The Great Dictator”:/en/articles/13 and “Monsieur Verdoux”:/en/articles/8 there are stacks of rejected musical material from “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 in the archives in Montreux. But, curiously, almost none of the unused portions of “Limelight”:/en/articles/7 on these recordings exist anywhere on paper. So from these early recordings, I established and transcribed the “unknown” compositions onto paper, totaling about 14 complete compositions, and 20 or more incomplete or nearly complete ones.

This, perhaps, was the answer. Music written while he was still at the peak of his composing abilities, music for his ONLY other serious dramatic feature, and music completely un-heard by the public before.

So in co-operation with the Chaplin family, I carefully proceeded to create a new score for “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 by using both the recently un-earthed dramatic, exciting compositions of 1951, and reconfiguring some of the existing themes from the 1977 score, but more in the manner of previous Chaplin treatments of his own material. The orchestration model I used was an exact duplication of the forces for “City Lights”:/en/articles/4 flute (piccolo), oboe (cor anglais), 3 clarinets, 3 saxophones, bassoon, 2 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, percussion, harp, piano (celesta) and strings, with the exception of the banjo, but with the addition of accordion (as in The Pilgrim).

This experiment, I earnestly hope, will prove a worthy companion to “A Woman of Paris”:/en/articles/10 which has for so long gone without proper musical support. Although Chaplin could not have foreseen the difficulty which arose from the score during the last year of his life, I do hope it would be to his liking if he were here today. After all, that has always been the ultimate goal.


The Film and Entertainment auction London December 2004


Chaplin items from Maurice Bessy’s collection will be offered in the forthcoming Film and Entertainment Christie auction on Tuesday 14 December 2004 at 2pm at Christie South Kensington, London.

Viewing Times :
* Sunday 12 December 1pm-4pm * Monday 13 December 9am-7.30pm * Tuesday 14 December 9am-12 noon

Various Chaplin items will be available such as a rare prop moustache from Chaplin’s famous Tramp costume ( estimate: ?3,000-?5,000); his cane from “Modern Times”:/en/articles/6 (Estimate:?8,000-?12,000); his truncheon from Easy Street and his whistle from “City Lights”:/en/articles/4 (estimate ? 1,500-?2,500)

The catalogue for the auction is about to be produced and will be available shortly.

For more information: see http://www.christies.com


Coffret Courts métrages


French release only. Available in France on 8th December 2004. Same films already released in USA under title: “The Chaplin Revue” distributed by “Warner”:http://www2.warnerbros.com/charliechaplin

Un coffret réunissant une sélection de 4 courts-métrages parmi les meilleurs de Charles Chaplin (Charlot et le masque de fer, Jour de paye, Une idylle aux champs, Une journée de plaisir) ainsi que la célebre série Chaplin Revue. Disponible à partir du 8 décembre chez “MK2 BOUTIQUE”:http://boutique.mk2.com/boutique/fiche_video.aspx?id_pdt=467&mId=1235463


The Chaplin-kono Conference I


Japan March 2006

The Chaplin Society of Japan will held the Chaplin-Kono Conference in Kyoto in Japan from the 25th to 27th of March 2006. The aim of the Chaplin-Kono Conference was to reassess Charlie Chaplin and his secretary Kono Totaichi. Kono worked for Chaplin from 1916 to 1934 and was Chaplin’s right hand man. But little is known about him. However a lot of new materials were found recently and Kono’s biography is becoming clear.

There was also an exhibition of the huge amount of collection by Higashijima Tomie’s large collection, wich included Chaplin’s portrait with his autograph for Kono, Chaplin’s train ticket, Virginia Cherrill’s portrait with her autograph for Kono, more than 300 precious photos such as Chaplin and Al Jolson or Kono and Laurel and Hardy or Ida Lupino, Kono’s own srapbook with a lot of precious newspaper clippings from those days, more than 500 pieces of letters to Kono and Chaplin and so on.

Ms Higashijima Tomie, Kono’s second wife, talked about her memories of Kono.This conference and exhibition offered new information on Chaplin.

h3. March 25th 2006:

  • Professor Frank Scheide “The influence of English Music Hall on the Nonverbal Expression of Charles Spencer Chaplin”.

  • Cecilia Ceaciarelli from The Cineteca di Bologna talked about Chaplin’s unmade project.

  • Davide Pozzi from The Cineteca di Bolognawill talked about restoration of Chaplin’s films with a screening of Keystone films.

  • Professor Kathryn Millard talked about Chaplin’s imitators and will screen clips from her new documentary on Chaplin’s imitators.

h3. March 26th 2006:

  • Professor Nakagaki Kotaro “Chaplin and American culture”

  • Professor Hattori Yuki “The History of Japan’s acceptance of Chaplin”

  • David Robinson talked about Music Hall and Chaplin.

  • Ono Hiroyuki talked about “Chaplin and Japan “Kono Toraichi”

  • Clyde Kusatsu talked about Kono and will screen clips from his new documentary on Kono: Chaplin’s driver.

  • Professor Constance B.Kuriyama talked about Kono and von Ulm.

  • Higashijima Tomie talked about her husband Kono

  • The actress Kuroyanagi Tomie talked about Chaplin, whom she met in New York in 1972.

  • Josephine Chaplin talked about her father, interviewed by Ono Hiroyuki.